Should I do a second year in Spain’s language assistant program?

Next year if I continue the language assistant program it will be in the province of Madrid. As I await to hear which school I’ll be placed in, I have been all pros and cons about doing the program for a second year. But today I am more pros than cons.

Why I would like to do it for a second year:

  1. To continue improving my Spanish
  2. Now is a good time for me  to be travelling: I have no long term commitments back in Australia.
  3. I am enjoying meeting new people from eveeeerywhere.
  4. I am enjoying learning more about the English language and talking about it.
  5. My career  at home (in communications) can wait.
  6. As much as I miss Melbourne and a selective group of  people in it, it will always be there.
  7. I am learning more about my country by teaching students about it. Who knew what Australia Day was about more than the Hottest 100…
  8. Working  minimal hours means I have more time do other stuffs, like writing.
  9. I guess you never know – maybe other opportunities will come up in Madrid? Maybe I’ll want to stay there.

Why I would be hesitant to do it for a second year:

  1. My career is in communications, not teaching. Is it silly to do something for a second year just so you can continue experiencing life in another country? When I apply for jobs back at home, will it look bad that I ‘took a break’ for two years?
  2. I am 27 and capable. I can take on much more responsibility than what we do in the program (which isn’t really any).
  3. The program isn’t exactly well-organised. Actually it’s without a doubt the most disorganised program/job I’ve ever had, and that’s on both a higher, government level and on a coworker level with the teachers I work with on a daily basis. I can go into more detail if you like. OOOOH the detail I could go into…
  4. I miss home.
  5. There’s four months in between finishing this program and starting the next school year. It’s too expensive to go back home, plus I’d be going back home in time for a double winter. That sounds poo. I’ll need to find something to do here which doesn’t cost much money (but I think I have a job lined up which offers free accommodation).
  6. I love to be busy. This year I felt a little bored at some points when I wasn’t travelling. But I know this situation may change going from a small town in Andalusia to going to a big city like Madrid.

I guess the most concerning for me is going back home, everyone having babies and I’ll be starting anew. I know this is a silly problem. Travel is my passion and it’s something to do now, not later.

The good thing is I can accept my position and turn it back at the last minute and there’s a waiting list of people who would very much like to take my place. I guess I could even pull out once I’ve started if I really don’t want to stick it out for another eight months.

So can someone help me feel better about the cons please?

Ta. x

here's another sunset, just because.
here’s another sunset, just because.
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11 comments

  1. I guess what I would say is will you regret not staying later? It’s difficult to answer now, but that was my main reason for starting this next year. I have a job at home and a comfortable live, and I knew that if I did not put myself out there and do this program that I would have always regretted not doing it. An opportunity like this may not come up again. Plus, like you said, you could always turn it down later if you changed your mind.

    • i dont know :/ i know really it just comes down to luck. But I guess there’s a higher chance of me regretting not doing it than doing it. But I like the safety net of being able to pull out at any point.

  2. Excuse my bluntness 🙂
    1. No. As long as you have confidence in your abilities and can communicate well I’d be very surprised if you were overlooked.
    2. When you’re home I’m guessing it will be responsibility after responsibility. Take it easy while you can and take the time to absorb your environment. It may be the only chance you get and may go some way towards alleviating (4).
    3. Is it your problem that they are unorganised? What’s the worst that can happen 🙂 ?
    4. See my comment on your earlier post.
    5. Sounds like you’ve got the answer.
    6. ‘Busy’ is overrated in my opinion. It stops you from soaking up the sights, sounds and emotion of a foreign country. Immersing yourself is important, but only so long as you still take the time to reflect.

    Cheers!

    • Hi Andrew,

      Thank you for your bluntness. After looking at these points, I really am leaning toward just going. I think it was just a matter of wanting to be sure, but you know, it’s difficult to be sure about anything. I know that there’s more chance that I’d regret not doing it than doing it, so I suppose that’s my answer 🙂 And it’s true, busy can be overrated. And at least this way I can feel my time with hobbies rather than more work.
      Thanks!

  3. I’ll give you my perspective on it.

    You and I are in different programs – I was/am with BEDA, you’re with auxiliares – which means that my job here is actually like a FULL TIME job and I NEVER feel bored. Never have enough time to, between the 20 hours I do at school (which is more like 28-30 because of the two hour break in the middle of the day and the extra stuff I do), private lessons, and all the stuff I do with friends and meeting people. If being a bit bored is your issue, that really isn’t a problem at all. You’ll have tons to do in Madrid (capital) – tons of private lessons, tons of meeting people… I literally never have a moment to sit down to just relax (in fact, I have about 3 hours today… using it to write on here!).

    As for your age/responsibilities – this is up to you. Everyone has different priorities depending on their age. I KNEW I didn’t want to do this type of travel in my mid-late 20s nearly as much as I can now while I’m still in the early 20s stage, and even then, I’m approaching mid-20s in the next year or two and I know that for me and my goals, it would probably push some of my goals back if I stay. However, for you, I don’t see the issue. Unless you have specific things you want to be back for based on your age, don’t worry about that. Responsibilities at work are overrated too – you can market this job in a specific way to emphasize your responsibilities. It also DOES have to do with communications!

    Re the program’s disorganized nature – who cares!? Haha. In Madrid, the auxiliars get it lucky (I know a lot of them) – they get paid on time/early, their schools are usually fine, they work very little and get paid ridiculous amounts… this isn’t a problem, to be honest.

    And this brings me to the last and most important point – being homesick. I’d say ask yourself if this is a really serious issue or not, because if it is, I think that could be the deciding factor. If you think you can stick it out for a year and that another year will be more rewarding to you than going home for that year will be, stay! If you think it will kill you to stay another year, go home!

    I decided to go home after this year for a few reasons, mostly unrelated to your reasons: I’m not really that homesick. I was in the beginning of the year, but I’ve adapted to the lifestyle here to the point where I’m going to miss a lot about Madrid/Spain. I miss my family, but not my hometown (at all), and they’re all spread out over North America now. If your family is a huge part of your life and are all in one city, I can see this being an issue for you, but I know for me it’s complicated as they’re scattered. Regardless, my major reason for coming home is that I don’t really like my job enough – I used to teach teenagers and it was AWFUL (I’m 23 and I look about 16-18, so a lot of my kids treated me like one of them and it was a problem). I teach little babies now (2-6) and it’s much better, but they’re exhausting, and I know it’s not what I was meant to do even though I’ve actually managed to learn the ways of being an infantil teacher. I can’t imagine doing it for another year because I know it will burn me out, as I do private classes too. My major reason for going back is for professional reasons, so that could be a huge issue for you too if you really don’t think teaching is your thing. I think teaching abroad is AWESOME because you get to live in another country and you get to use your own language as your trade, but for some people it’s not a long term option because they may have career goals that dont go in line with it! I think if I could stay here and do other work (do private lessons as well, but be here officially doing something more related to my goals), I would definitely do it. The other things just arent a problem for me. I think it all comes down to what your biggest priority is, and whether the pros outweigh the cons!

    • Hi,

      Thanks for taking the time to write this! It’s good to hear that in Madrid there is always something to do. I just found out I’ve been placed in the capital. so I now feel more confident about saying yes to the program. I know I’m at my best when I’m busy, and I think after settling in I’ll find that easy to do.

      I think the school that I got placed in this year was particularly disorganised. I know that doesn’t really affect me directly, but I guess sometimes it’s just frustrating when you know the country is in crisis, and time, skills and money are being wasted. But I think the school that I’ve been placed in Madrid will be much better, and I wont have to spend as much time gritting my teeth.

      Being homesick isnt really an issue. Because my city hasnt changed and it will always be there. Plus, more than anything I’m not necessarily missing my own city in Australia, but cities in general.

      I can understand how it makes it harder to gain respect when you look younger. I’m shorter than many (well, all) off my students so I understand more than some. I don’t think teaching is my thing, and while I don’t hate it, it’s not what I want to do forever. But I feel like it might be ok for now, and will help me build other skills and I can return to communications later. (I hope!) I think for me, the biggest pro is being able to experience life in a huge international city, meeting new people and practicing Spanish.

      Good luck with the rest of your time in Madrid, and life settling in back home!!

      • Hi mappingthepeace ,
        I’m an Australian girl travelling around Spain at the moment and I have absolutely fallen in love with the place! I don’t have EU citizenship so have been searching for ways to return and live in Spain. I was just wondering what program or company you went through, and how difficult the process was? I am determined to find a way to live here somehow!!!!

        Thanks for any guidance you can provide.

        El 🙂

      • Hi Eleanor,

        Here is a link to the program that I am doing:

        http://www.mecd.gob.es/dms-static/478781dd-3d01-4c72-8a45-387ab1b7eeaa/consejerias-exteriores/australia/folletoauxiliarenespanaau2012.pdf

        The program is through the Spanish government, which has its positives and negatives, but at the end of the day I do recommend it as a way to live in the EU without a visa, whilst also earning enough money to get by.

        Unfortunately the applications I think have finished for this year, but if you can wait till the next round, the process is not difficult at all (a bit of paper work, but it’s not hard to get into the program!) The program runs for 8 months (or 9 if you go to Madrid).

        Let me know if you want any more info 🙂

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